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Untangling trade and technology: evidence from local labour markets


Autor, David H; Dorn, David; Hanson, Gordon H (2015). Untangling trade and technology: evidence from local labour markets. Economic Journal, 125(584):621-646.

Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in US local labour markets between 1980 and 2007. Labour markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labour markets susceptible to computerisation due to specialisation in routine task-intensive activities instead experience occupational polarisation within manufacturing and non-manufacturing but do not experience a net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerisation of information-processing tasks in non-manufacturing.

Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in US local labour markets between 1980 and 2007. Labour markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labour markets susceptible to computerisation due to specialisation in routine task-intensive activities instead experience occupational polarisation within manufacturing and non-manufacturing but do not experience a net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerisation of information-processing tasks in non-manufacturing.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:May 2015
Deposited On:09 Oct 2015 15:43
Last Modified:01 Apr 2017 00:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0013-0133
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12245

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